A 90-YEAR-OLD woman was cut off by BT for almost a month during the rollout of its new digital system.

The Berwickshire pensioner received a message from the communications company in January asking her to switch to the new Digital Voice but after she agreed, BT cut her off completely.

Her daughter – who has since spent hours trying to contact BT to get her mother reconnected – is now warning that other householders may face similar problems as the company tries to roll out the “upgrade”.

“It is shocking really and the irony of it is that they are supposed to be a communications company yet communicating with them is nigh on impossible,” she said.

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When the pensioner agreed to switch from the old copper network to the new broadband-based connection, she received a message saying it would take place in early February.

However, instead of receiving a broadband router, her phone was simply cut off.

Her daughter, who does not want to be named, then tried to contact BT and after several attempts managed to report the fault. Her mother was then sent a message saying her landline would be switched over on February 8 but it didn’t happen and she then received another message saying it would be February 20.

“However, we could not see how to make it work if it did switch over and there is no easy way of phoning BT and speaking to a person,” said her daughter. “I eventually managed to do a webchat and managed to get to a person after I was given a phone number but that took three hours.”

She was told that all that was needed was to plug the old phone into the back of her mother’s internet hub – but there was nowhere to plug it in.

“The engineer said, ‘just take a photo of the back of the box and I will tell you how to do it’,” she said. “I did that and sent him a photo and he said ‘no you are right – you have the old-fashioned hub and there is nowhere to plug the phone in’.”

The engineer said they would send another internet hub but when it arrived it was identical to the existing one and did not have anywhere to plug the phone in.

“I had another morning talking to chatbots and eventually getting to someone but they still did not believe the phone would not plug in,” said the daughter.

“By this time, my mother had been left without a phone for three weeks and I had to go out and buy a mobile phone so at least she could make and receive calls.”

Eventually BT sent an internet box that did have a slot for the plug but even then the phone did not work.

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“That meant another phone call and they said they would send an engineer but that morning miraculously the phone started working – although I didn’t know if it was on the old-fashioned phone line or the the new Digital Voice,” said the daughter. “The engineer did not come and a few days after, we received another box so we now have three.

“My mother is reconnected but only after severe damage to our mental health and our relationship and her having to fork out to get a new mobile.”

BT has said that for most customers, the switch will be as “simple” as plugging their existing phone into the back of their broadband router.

For those customers who are taking broadband for the first time, the company says it will provide them with a broadband router ahead of their switch.

A BT spokesperson said they could not comment on an individual case without having the customer’s full details.